The stressful events of the last 18 months have often led to an increase in health-related issues, including dental health concerns. One of the more common effects of stress on our teeth is teeth grinding and jaw clenching. For most patients, this happens without them even realizing it. It is common for teeth grinding to occur at night during sleep or jaw clenching to occur subconsciously when feeling stressed during the day. Whatever the cause, it is important to notice the signs of teeth grinding or jaw clenching and seek a solution to avoid permanent damage. A Dawson-trained dentist in Pinehurst, NC, Dr. Monroe can offer comprehensive diagnostics and care for the effects of teeth grinding and solutions to prevent it in the future.
Signs of teeth grinding
Dr. Monroe will look for the common signs of teeth grinding during your routine dental exam. Recognizing them at home can help you to seek treatment before damage starts to occur. The most common signs can include:
- increased tooth sensitivity: are your teeth suddenly more sensitive when drinking something hot or eating ice cream?
- chipped teeth: do you have a chipped tooth but don’t know how that happened?
- worn teeth: do your teeth appear to be flat or are the ridges along the bottom of the front teeth gone?
- are you experiencing new headaches or discomfort around the ears and shoulders?
When left untreated, teeth grinding can cause damage to the teeth and gums. Cracked teeth, chipped teeth, loose teeth, and changes in the fit of the bite can occur over time. Prompt treatment and a personalized solution from Dr. Monroe can help you avoid damage and restore comfort in the bite once again.
Treatment for teeth grinding: what are the options?
Treatment is dependent upon the severity of the damage, condition of the jaw joints, and your overall symptoms. When treated early and in the absence of tooth damage, a custom night guard is often recommended. This mouth guard will fit over the teeth like a sports mouthguard but is designed to prevent the teeth from grinding or clenching and to allow the jaw muscles to relax.
Dr. Monroe will evaluate your needs and may recommend restorative dental treatments as needed to repair tooth damage or to adjust the tooth surfaces and allow for a more natural bite. The goal of treatment is to enable the teeth to make contact without stressing the jaw muscles and to prevent damage in the future.
Schedule A Dental Appointment
If you are concerned that you may be grinding your teeth or are experiencing changes in your bite, schedule an appointment with Dr. Monroe in our Pinehurst office. We also welcome new patients!